Survey Shows Need for Better Cops, Courts Coverage

USA Today Gives Anti-Trump ‘Endorsement’

Scarbrough Named Executive Editor at Fox Sports

Women Cite Sexual Abuse in Opposing Pipeline

U.N. Group Backs Reparations for U.S. Blacks

Two J-Schools to Focus on Diversity ‘Pipelines’

William Garth, Chicago Citizen Publisher, Dies at 78

Short Takes

The police department in El Cajon, Calif., released this still from a witness' video, showing the slain Alfred Olango in confrontation with officers. In the protests that followed the shooting, people jumped a news cameraman, who said they stole a $15,000 camera, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The police department in El Cajon, Calif., released this still from a witness’s video, showing Alfred Olango before he was slain in a confrontation with officers. In protests that followed the shooting, people jumped a news cameraman, who said they stole a $15,000 camera, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Survey Shows Need for Better Cops, Courts Coverage

Is this what happens when fear of police violence combines with mistrust of the news media?

Imagine thinking that out of the 197 black people who’ve been killed by police this year, one of them could have been you,” Taryn Finley wrote Friday for Huffington Post BlackVoices. “This thought process, unfortunately, is all too familiar for many black Americans.

“For Harlem-based writer Ja’han Jones, this was a recurring notion ever since his parents gave him the ‘necessary’ and ‘traumatic’ talk about the realities of black people being targeted by the police. . . .

“He wanted to submit it to a publication as a freelance piece, but he ditched the idea when he realized so many of his peers felt similarly about the continued devaluing of black lives as he did. So he decided to create the Black Obituary Project.

“This project, which launched on Thursday, is a platform for black people to write their own notices of death while they are still around to control their own narratives. Instead of relying on biased news reports that tend to vilify victims of police brutality, the Black Obituary Project gives black people an opportunity to tell the world about their strengths, imperfections and values. . . .”

On Fusion, a despairing Terrell Jermaine Starr wrote Sunday, “I’ve written about black people dying at the hands of police officers so often that I no longer feel like a journalist; I’m more like a medical examiner penning death certificates.

Justin George worked on "Shoot to Kill" for nine months while on a journalism fellowship.

Justin George worked on “Shoot to Kill” for nine months while on a journalism fellowship.

“One day, I fear won’t be around to write the next one because some other reporter will be writing mine. . . .”

Small wonder, then, that D. Kevin McNeir wrote Thursday for the Washington Informer, “The National Newspaper Publishers Association [NNPA], the nation’s largest trade association of African-American-owned newspapers and media companies, recently declared the existence of a police brutality state of emergency in the U.S. with respect to Black America.

“And during a press conference on Friday, Sept. 23, the leaders of the organization who represent a collective of 211 Black-owned newspapers in 32 states with a reach that extends to 20.1 million readers per week, said they intend to raise their voices in solidarity while issuing a list of four recommended action items that they’ll deliver to President Barack Obama, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and members of Congress. . . .”

McNeir also wrote, “The NNPA has submitted four action items upon which they urge the aforementioned group of U.S. political leaders to immediately act. The list includes: appoint a special federal prosecutor on police brutality [;] establish a national police oversight commission on the use of deadly force, with training and cultural sensitivity; create a national police brutality and misconduct database accessible to the public; and establish tougher federal penalties for police officers and prosecutors who violate constitutional rights. . . .”

The NNPA isn’t alone in calling for action. Sean King, a columnist for the Daily News in New York and a Black Lives Matter activist, announced in his column Friday, “I just introduced On this Dec. 5, the anniversary of when Dr. King and others began the 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, we are launching our own Montgomery Bus Boycott to show every city, state, institution and corporation in this country that meaningful, reasonable, achievable reforms on police brutality and injustice are not our long-term dreams. They are our immediate emergency priority. . . .”

It would be a mistake to underestimate the effect of public outcries, at least in forcing more transparency by police departments.

In California, “Three days after an El Cajon police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man, authorities released video of the incident his family and protesters have demanded to see . . .Pauline Repard reported Saturday for the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Two videos, lasting less than 90 seconds total, showed the moments on Tuesday before an officer fired his gun and a second officer fired a Taser at Alfred Olango, 38.”

Repard also wrote, “The videos were shown live over local news stations. About a dozen people collected outside police headquarters during the news conference watched the videos on their cellphones and reacted with anger as they heard the shots ring out.

“Some honked car horns, others shouted profanities, and one man yelled, ‘They trapped him like an animal!’ . . .”

Other news organizations are documenting the problem, while a new survey from the Pew Research Center suggests that the news media could double down on investigating why confidence in local police and courts is so low, particularly among African Americans.

On Friday, the Baltimore Sun began a series headlined, “Shoot to Kill: Why Baltimore is one of the most lethal cities in the U.S.

Justin George spent nine months during the 2015 school year at Marquette University in Milwaukee as part of the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism, working on ‘Shoot to Kill’ while mentoring college students and speaking to journalism classes,” the Sun wrote.

“He traveled to five cities to research gun violence; analyzed crime data from cities across the U.S.; reviewed dozens of studies on violent crime, trauma and guns; and interviewed more than 80 people, including homicide detectives, police chiefs, hit men, ex-offenders, researchers, emergency room doctors, nurses, trauma surgeons, family members of victims, neighborhood residents, prosecutors and survivors of shootings. Four college students served as research assistants as part of the O’Brien Fellowship program. They were Wyatt Massey, Hannah H. Kirby, Natalie Wickman and Matthew Kulling.”

The Associated Press tried to analyze the causes of gun violance. Under the headline “Why is Chicago a murder capital? Clues from a bloody month,” Don Babwin wrote Thursday, “To those outside Chicago, the rising murder toll might suggest a city wracked by widespread violence, but August portrays a much narrower picture of constant tit-for-tat attacks among gang members, with bystanders sometimes caught in the crossfire. . . .”

The report Thursday from the Pew Research Center indicates that news organizations are correct to keep their focus on local government institutions — and not just the police.


Confidence in local police is considerably lower among blacks,” said the report by Pew’s Rich Morin and Renee Stepler. “Just 14% of blacks say they have a lot of confidence in their local police, and 41% say they have some confidence. By comparison, about four-in-ten whites (42%) say they have a lot of confidence in their local police, and another 39% say they have some confidence. Among Hispanics, 31% say they have a lot of confidence, and another 48% say they have some confidence in their police.

Morin and Stepler added, however, “Limited confidence in community institutions is not limited to the police department. In fact, fewer Americans say they have a lot of confidence in the other local institutions asked about in the survey than say this about their police:

“Some 17% of the public says they have at a lot of confidence in the courts in their community, and 15% say the same about their city or local government. Confidence in these institutions is also lower among blacks than whites. For example, 49% of blacks say they have at least some confidence in the courts in their community, compared with 70% of whites. . . .”

Newsweek reported Thursday that "A company controlled by Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, secretly conducted business in Communist Cuba during Fidel Castro’s presidency despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal. . ."

Newsweek reported Thursday, “A company controlled by Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, secretly conducted business in Communist Cuba during Fidel Castro’s presidency despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal. . .”

USA Today Gives Anti-Trump ‘Endorsement’

‘Put your trust in God, my boys, but mind to keep your powder dry,’Erik Wemple wrote Friday for the Washington Post. “Those are the words attributed to Oliver Cromwell back in 1642 at the Battle of Edgehill. As William Safire wrote in 1997, Cromwell was advising his ‘boys’ to ‘blaze away at the proper time.’

“And that is the most appropriate term for what USA Today just did. ‘USA TODAY’s Editorial Board: Trump is “unfit for the presidency,” ‘ reads the headline of the paper’s attention-grabbing piece. As it turns out, the newspaper has been keeping its powder dry for its entire existence:

“In the 34-year history of USA TODAY, the Editorial Board has never taken sides in the presidential race. Instead, we’ve expressed opinions about the major issues and haven’t presumed to tell our readers, who have a variety of priorities and values, which choice is best for them. Because every presidential race is different, we revisit our no-endorsement policy every four years. We’ve never seen reason to alter our approach. Until now.

“What could possibly account for such a change in policy? Duh. Donald Trump, as USA Today capably explains, is a threat to the United States on a number of fronts — eight, by the count of USA Today. He’s ‘erratic,’ unprepared to be commander in chief, ‘traffics in prejudice’ (which is an understatement), has a ‘checkered’ business career, fails to ‘level’ with the public, ‘speaks recklessly,’ has ‘coarsened’ politics and is a ‘serial liar.’ The sheer awfulness of Trump, too, inspires some nice editorial writing from the USA Today folks. For example: . . .”

Trump tweeted his response Friday:

Neal Scarbrough (Credit:

Neal Scarbrough (Credit:

Scarbrough Named Executive Editor at Fox Sports

Neal Scarbrough, a veteran sports journalist who most recently was senior director of New England Sports Network and senior executive producer at the now-shuttered Al Jazeera America, was named on Friday to the newly created position of executive editor at Fox Sports.

As Executive Editor, Scarbrough has editorial oversight of FS1’s studio programming and oversees news updates during the day while directing breaking news topics for discussion on FS1 studio programs,” an announcement said. The position is based in Los Angeles.

Scarbrough has also been been vice president and editor in chief of, general manager and editor of AOL Sports, vice president and editor-in-chief of the startup Sportnet and vice president of digital media at the Versus network, part of Comcast.

“I know many of you have come together, across tribes and across the country, to support the community at Standing Rock and together you’re making your voices heard,” President Obama said Monday as he hosted more than 500 Native American leaders for his eighth and final White House Tribal Nations Conference as president.

Women Cite Sexual Abuse in Opposing Pipeline

Thanks to the biggest protest by Native Americans in a century, plus support from environmental activists as well as social media, the federal government has temporarily halted construction of a crucial portion of the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Mary Kathryn Nagle and Gloria Steinem wrote Thursday for the Boston Globe. “This is not a victory or a defeat, but it does give everyone in America time to think.”

Nagle is an attorney and playwright and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Steinem is a writer and feminist organizer.

“This 1,134-mile pipeline would run under the Missouri River, posing a serious threat to drinking water, especially for the native nations whose sacred sites sit in the path of the proposed structure,” Nagle and Steinem continued.

“Native leaders are warning all of us. They have traveled from hundreds of native nations to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota. At first in obscurity, and often at risk of arrest or beatings, they have succeeded in putting the country on notice that the pipeline endangers sacred lands and the environment.

“It also endangers women and girls. That’s because, in this country as around the world, extractive industries create so-called ‘man camps,’ places where male workers often work 12-hour days, are socially isolated for weeks or months at a time, and live in trailers in parks that extend for miles.

“As advocacy organizations like First Nations Women’s Alliance have noted, these man camps become centers for drugs, violence, and the sex trafficking of women and girls. They also become launching pads for serial sexual predators who endanger females for miles around.

“In North Dakota, the man camps created during the Bakken oil boom drastically increased the levels of violent crime perpetrated against women and girls — and particularly native women and girls. . . .”

U.N. Group Backs Reparations for U.S. Blacks

A United Nations working group is getting into the fray on U.S. racial discrimination,” Pamela Falk reported Tuesday for CBS News. “After 14 years, and 20 days of speaking with U.S. officials, activists, and families of people killed by police in major American cities, it has issued its conclusions: the slave trade was a crime against humanity and the U.S. government should pay reparations.

“ ‘Contemporary police killings and the trauma it creates are reminiscent of the racial terror lynching in the past,’ a French member of the working group of U.N. experts, Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France, said after their meetings in the U.S. [She is daughter of the late Frantz Fanon, the celebrated black psychiatrist, thinker, activist and writer from Martinique.]

“The U.N. experts traveled to major cities including: Washington D.C., Baltimore, Jackson, Mississippi, Chicago, and New York City. . . .”

Although Falk’s report appeared on the CBS News website, it is unclear whether it aired. CBS spokesmen did not respond to inquiries. Another report on the PBS “NewsHour” website, posted Thursday and written by Eugene Mason, “was written for our website,” PBS spokesman Nick Massella told Journal-isms by email on Friday.

The response seems similar to that for a report that reached the same conclusion in February.

Big media have shown some interest since The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates made a case for reparations for African-Americans after centuries of enslavement and discrimination,” Janine Jackson wrote then for Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting.

“Just recently, a Los Angeles Times story (1/12/16) offered it as an example of how ‘the post-Obama left’ is being driven to ‘policy proposals [that] are so grand as to verge on the absurd,’ and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ stance against the idea made fodder for CNN (1/21/16) and others tracking the opinions of black people vis a vis the presidential election.

“But when, right on the heels of that, a UN human rights group released a report saying African-Americans face ‘systemic racial discrimination’ and deserve ‘reparatory justice,’ that was not so newsworthy. . . .”

Two J-Schools to Focus on Diversity ‘Pipelines’

The University of Missouri and George Washington University are each taking steps to further diversify their journalism programs by focusing on pipeline issues, according to student newspapers at the schools.

The School of Journalism’s new Student Development, Diversity and Recruitment Program is aiming to increase the number of minority reporters in newsrooms by providing special mentorships and educational opportunities to high school students,Jackson Kinkead reported Thursday for the Maneater at Mizzou.

“The program is part of MU’s push for increasing diversity and inclusion on campus and is led by Ron Kelley, a former MU assistant vice chancellor for advancement. Kelley became the program’s executive director Sept. 12.

“The program will provide a diverse set of high school students with opportunities during their education and career so they feel comfortable working in areas of journalism.

“At the program’s announcement Aug. 25, School of Journalism Dean [David] Kurpius described the program as ‘a pipeline.’ . . .”

At George Washington, “The School of Media and Public Affairs will form a committee to expand the diversity of its student body, the school’s director announced this month,” Josh Weinstock and Lillianna Byington reported Wednesday for the GW Hatchet.

Frank Sesno, the director of SMPA, said the committee will launch within the next month, and its members will identify ways to diversify the school’s students. Professors in the school said attracting a more diverse group of students is especially important because the school’s graduates go on to work in media and can be the ones to diversify newsrooms.

“ ‘In media and politics, diversity is and should be a top priority because if our politics and our media don’t look like the country, they’re not going to be responsive to the country and they’re not going serve the country,’ Sesno said. . . .”

The committee is chaired by Cheryl W. Thompson, an associate professor of media and public affairs and an investigative reporter at the Washington Post. “The committee’s first focus will be on how to ‘open the pipeline’ to students of different backgrounds, Sesno said. He said that one possible solution could be to develop a team of student ambassadors who go back to their high schools to explain the value of the school. . . .”

William Garth, Chicago Citizen Publisher, Dies at 78

William Garth, Sr., the CEO of the Chicago Citizen Newspaper Group Inc., (CCNG) and Chairman of the Chatham Business Association (CBA), died on Friday, September 23,Lisette Gushiniere reported Tuesday for the Citizen. He was 79.

William Garth

William Garth

“A pillar in the community, Garth led the Citizen with a steady hand and worked hard to make the news operation the largest Black-owned ABC audited newspaper in the Midwest.

“Starting out as an advertising salesman for the Citizen, Garth lived the American Dream. After gaining recognition as a master salesman at the Citizen, he ended up owning the newspaper chain in 1980 when he purchased the business from Gus Savage, a six-term Democratic congressman, who represented Chicago’s South Side.

“The sale to Garth included the ‘Chatham Citizen,’ ‘Southend Citizen’ and the ‘Chicago Weekend’ newspapers. Under Garth’s leadership, the Citizen flourished. Between 1984-1987, Garth grew the newspaper chain when he added the ‘South Suburban’ and ‘Hyde Park Citizen’ newspapers. . . .”

Evan F. Moore added for, “Through working at the Citizen’s newspapers, many of Chicago’s black journalists got their start in the profession, thanks to Garth . . .”

Short Takes

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